A fire department review of a devastating blaze that ravaged a Walsall hotel found that a lack of sprinklers inside “could have had a dramatic impact on the bottom line.”
Firefighters who were sent inside the Holiday Inn on the M6 in August 2019 had to be pulled out due to the danger of the roof collapsing, the West Midlands Fire Department said.
And the fire spread so quickly due to the “building’s limited fire compartment,” as the spread of fire and smoke can be “restricted by dividing buildings into smaller sections or units separated by fire-resistant construction methods, ”the fire department added. .
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Up to 50 firefighters witnessed the fierce blaze near Junction 10 on August 2. The fire started in the sauna but quickly engulfed the hotel, leaving crews unable to control the blaze.
Only rubble remains on the site after the fire-ravaged hotel was demolished.
Before the fire, firefighters recommended that the hotel install automatic fire extinguishers in the building, but they were never installed.
Fortunately, no one was hurt and all staff and guests were taken care of – but a number of wedding plans were left in tatters.
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A spokesperson for the West Midlands Fire Department said: ‘This was a significant incident. Fortunately, the hotel was successfully evacuated and no one was injured.
“Our crews arrived within four minutes of their mobilization. However, despite their assertive efforts, the fire spread much faster than expected and the building was destroyed.
“The firefighters who had been deployed inside had to be pulled out due to the speed with which the fire consumed the attic and the danger of the roof collapsing.
“Our fire safety officers had previously recommended that the building be sprinklered, in accordance with our fire authority’s position. However, the sprinklers were not installed and this could have had a dramatic impact on the bottom line.
“Damage from the spread of fire and smoke can be limited by dividing buildings into smaller sections or units separated by fire-resistant construction methods. We believe that the fire started accidentally, in the sauna room, and that the building’s limited fire compartmentalization allowed it to spread so quickly.
“This incident underscores the importance for businesses of having up-to-date fire safety procedures and of their staff, guests and visitors familiarizing themselves with escape routes as a top priority.”
A spokesperson for IHG Hotels & Resorts said: “The former Holiday Inn Walsall was independently owned and operated under a franchise agreement at the time of the incident. A successful evacuation plan has been launched and we commend the emergency services for their actions.
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